LAUNCH Chapel Hill: Calling All Entrepreneurs

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CHAPEL HILL, NC -- Community entrepreneurs and startup ventures are encouraged to apply through Jan. 28 for admission to LAUNCH Chapel Hill, a laboratory for entrepreneurs or “venture lab” located at 321 W. Rosemary St

LAUNCH Chapel Hill is a best-in-class venture lab and co-working space for students and residents of Chapel Hill. The incubator model helps entrepreneurs to develop ventures from early stage efforts into self-sustaining enterprises. This venture is made possible by the collaboration of the Town of Chapel Hill, Orange County, UNC-Chapel Hill and the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership.

LAUNCH provides the following key benefits: 
1. Practical training events and networking opportunities 
2. Subsidized rent and services for those in need 
3. Mentoring by experienced entrepreneurs 
4. Industry contacts and fundraising assistance

LAUNCH celebrates a culture where its members are surrounded and inspired by other entrepreneurs. The objective is to provide candid and actionable feedback, where true grit and short learn cycle times mix effortlessly.

LAUNCH provides business services, such as marketing, accounting and legal at preferential or pro bono rates. Accepted ventures are paired with business mentors in the community and gain access to valuable contacts in the UNC, Chapel Hill and Orange County relationship economy.

Interested entrepreneurs can obtain an application, skim the LAUNCH Chapel Hill Fact Sheet, visit the venture lab, and learn more about the available resources at www.launchchapelhill.com or by contacting Bobby Funk at the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership at bobby@downtownchapelhill.com

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LAUNCH Chapel Hill Fact Sheet

What: LAUNCH Chapel Hill, a laboratory for entrepreneurs or “venture lab,” continues Chapel Hill’s tradition of innovation and big ideas. It will attract start-ups and encourage growth in Chapel Hill. It is the first joint government venture of its kind. The attractions for start-up companies include low-rent space, coaching/mentoring/programming support from UNC faculty and staff, networking opportunities, and fundraising assistance.

Where: 321 W. Rosemary St., in the heart of Downtown Chapel Hill’s business district

When: Entrepreneurs are invited to apply for admission by Jan. 28, 2013. Facility expected to open in spring 2013.

Who: This is a collaborative venture made possible by the efforts of the Town of Chapel Hill, Orange County, UNC- Chapel Hill, and the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership. Experienced mentors from UNC-Chapel Hill Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Kenan-Flagler Business School, and other UNC departments will meet with venture founders and teams to help them succeed.

Another entity – 3 Birds marketing-communications company – is part of the synergy making this exciting business development happen. 3 Birds outgrew its space at 321 W. Rosemary St. making room for the new venture lab to set up in the 3,500 square foot facility. 3 Birds then expanded to the newly remodeled office space at 505 W. Franklin St. above the recently opened Topo Distillery and will continue to play a supportive role in LAUNCH Chapel Hill.

How: Interested entrepreneurs who wish to apply, visit the lab space, or learn more, visit us atwww.launchchapelhill.com  LAUNCH Chapel Hill provides three key benefits: 1. Street smart training events and networking opportunities; 2. Subsidized rent and services for those in need; 3. Mentoring by experienced entrepreneurs as well as industry contacts and fundraising assistance

Background: The University and the Town agreed that their existing partnership in the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership was the right vehicle for managing this initiative. The Partnership serves as the property manager in LAUNCH. Three years of funding for the space comes to the Partnership from the Town’s Downtown Tax District ($105,000), the County’s ½ cent sales tax earmarked for economic development ($140,000), and 3 Birds marketing-communications company ($30,000 in cash and a value of $30,000 in in-kind services). Rental payments from tenants will also support the cost of the space.

Program management is provided by the UNC-Chapel Hill through the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and the Kenan-Flagler Business School.

3 Birds will offer services that will include developing a program to expose and mentor youth in the community to technology and innovation possibilities. It also would include working with the Town to consider ways the 3 Birds technology solution may be applied to general Town information services or more focused innovation-economic development efforts.

Contacts for Media: 
Town of Chapel Hill: Catherine Lazorko, 919-969-5055 clazorko@townofchapelhill.org 
UNC-Chapel Hill: Susan Hudson, 919-962-8415 susan_hudson@unc.edu 
Orange County: Carla Banks, 919-245-2302 or cbanks@orangecountync.gov 

Contact for Interested Applicants: 
Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership: Bobby Funk, 919-967-9440 or bobby@downtownchapelhill.com